Not another Trouser Fire?

 At our local pub quiz, which I’m pleased to say is now back on, the landlord normally kicks off with some topical news questions and some trending funny stories.  I usually prepare by looking at the news headlines and social media.  This is how I came across a story on the Huffington Postweb site about Miami defence lawyer Stephen Gutierrez.  Although this story goes back to 2017 and would not be featured in the quiz, I couldn’t resist reading it.  Gutierrez was giving his closing statement for his client who was accused of intentionally setting his car on fire, arguing that the car had spontaneously combusted.  Coincidentally, the lawyer’s own pants appeared to do just that. As his pants began to burn, Gutierrez had to cut short his statement and run out of the courtroom.  The cause was apparently e-cigarette batteries in his pocket.  E–cigarette batteries and mobile phone batteries have been known to cause fires or explosions and some serious injuries have been sustained as a result, so Mr Gutierrez was lucky not to have suffered serious burns in the trouser region.  (In case you’re wondering, it wasn’t staged and it didn’t do his client any favours as the jury convicted his client of second degree arson.)  And if you’re interested why batteries have a tendency to blow up at importune moments and your nether regions are not safe from technological progress, read this article. 

This brought to mind another trouser-fire incident which I witnessed back at school.  My friend was having a crafty cigarette behind the sports hall one lunchtime when a teacher spotted smoke and came to investigate.  In a stupid attempt to avoid embarrassment and likely punishment, my friend decided to hide his cigarette by putting his hand with the lit cigarette in his trouser pocket.  In response to the teacher’s interrogation, he managed only to shout loudly in pain as he burnt his finger and then hit himself repeatedly in the pocket area to stub out the cigarette.  The outcome for him wasn’t too serious – just a burn hole in his trousers, a couple of small skin burns and a detention.  For me and a couple of other 14 year olds watching, it was hilarious.

Of course trouser fires can be started in all sorts of ways but we are all familiar with the good old clothes-iron trouser fire – a scene featured in many a comedy film or tv programme.   Most are not that funny but here’s a classic that I never tire of watching.  It features Niles in the tv comedy ‘Frasier’ – one of the funniest and cleverest tv comedies ever in my view. In preparation for a date who he has invited over to Frasier’s apartment for dinner, he discovers a crease in his trousers and so out comes the ironing board. Of course he sets fire to his trousers and later Frasier’s couch.  It demonstrates how a deceptively simple problem coupled with Niles’ prissy manner – and his aversion to the sight of blood – can lead to a wrecked apartment and Niles blacked out on the floor. The scene which is actually a silent one was done in one take!  The writing and David Hyde Pierce’s acting is pure comedy genius.

To show you that the consequences of a trouser fire can be as funny as the trouser fire itself, take a look at this episode of the BBC comedy, ‘Count Arthur Strong’.  For those of you who are not familiar with Count Arthur (played by comedian Steve Delaney), he is an out-of-work actor from Doncaster with delusions that he is a show-business legend. He attempts to make it big again with the help of Michael, the scholarly son of his former comedy partner.  In this clip, he moves in with Michael after all his trousers are lost in a trouser fire.     


An exasperated Count Arthur says to a perplexed Michael, “Are you unfamiliar with the concept of a trouser fire?”.  I hope I have made you more familiar with the concept.

Author: Paul

I am a retired, married bloke, dad and grandad - growing old with attitude.

3 thoughts on “Not another Trouser Fire?”

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